Case Studies

Spearheading vital developments at an NHS community service

Added 03/12/2008


Sustain was commissioned to help an NHS community provider separate from its host PCT and develop the necessary financial processes to be able to compete as a stand-alone organisation. The provider needed to ensure its position was robust, as the sector was due to be opened to competition from other NHS organisations and the independent and charity sectors.
In addition, we took responsibility for driving significant improvements performance and efficiency while assisting with developing important stakeholder relationships.

Key challenges
In order to avoid a merger with another NHS organisation, the provider needed to ensure that its commissioners and the wider health service had confidence in its ability to perform as a separate organisation. To do this, additional skills would be required across its management structures, including specific commercial expertise.

Main actions

Using our business experience and knowledge of the turnaround framework, we developed a robust plan to improve the organisation’s efficiency and productivity. Working closely with the senior team, we mentored employees to improve their approach, management and coordination so that they were better positioned to deliver the plan. New appointments were made wherever necessary to help strengthen the organisation’s management structure and increase its capability.
In addition, we played a key role in helping the chief operating officer manage the provider’s relations with the PCT board and non-executive directors, giving regular updates and presentations to help enhance the organisation’s reputation.

Outcomes and achievements
Within just six months, our specially-tailored business improvement plan had delivered 100 diverse projects involving ten workstreams. Across the organisation, commercial capability improved, the focus on finance increased and rolling efficiency programmes were introduced.
We also ensured that objective performance management and risk processes were embedded, along with focussed problem solving and root cause analysis.
As a result of these improvements, the provider was able to produce its first meaningful strategic direction and integrated five-year business plan whilst also implementing a cost improvement programme to deliver £5m of savings.
The vast shift in the PCT’s perception of the provider’s reputation and capabilities also paved the way for it to apply for community foundation trust status.

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